People have asked me to judge the
I really like Curtis Granderson, so that probably colors my view of the deal. But since people have asked, I'll just put my opinion out there: I think the Yankees just made a crazy steal. I mean a CRAZY steal. I mean, hey, I don't know how the prospects they traded will turn out -- none of them seem especially interesting to me -- but it doesn't matter. This isn't about prospects.
No, there was one star in this trade -- and the Yankees got him. You do have to hand it to
Call it smart business, call it unfair economics, call it whatever you like. The Yankees got Curtis Granderson to play center field. And people who have not been paying attention are about to find out how good this guy really is.
And yes, I know, he has his flaws -- people have spent a lot of time talking about those flaws lately. The big one is that he can't hit left-handed pitching. Last year, his worst year, he hit a dreadful .183/.245/.239 against lefties. And over a career he's only hitting .210/.270/.344 against lefties -- it's a real issue.
But I would want to make three points:
1. The Yankees annihilate left-handed pitching. They hit .286/.365/.480 as a team against lefties in 2009. With
2. Two of the best lefties in the American League --
3. People are right to talk about lefty/righty, but they might want to talk about ballparks, too. Comerica Park has consistently depressed Granderson's numbers. This was especially true last year -- it was his worst year, but away from home he hit a much more tolerable .267/.345/.516 with 20 homers. He hit 37 points lower with a slugging percentage more than 100 points lower at home. That's extreme, but he has hit better away from Comerica every full season of his career. Put him in the pinball machine that is Yankee Stadium ... and watch the numbers tilt.
That's the Granderson side of things. Now, look at the Yankees side. Last year the Yankees -- at eight of the nine positions in the lineup -- had a player who had at one point in his career either:
1. Hit better than .330 in a season
Or, if you want to put it another way: Last year the Yankees -- at eight of the nine positions in the lineup -- had a player who had at one point in his career either:
1. Scored 100 runs in a season
Or, one other way: Last year (just last year) the Yankees -- at eight of the nine positions in the lineup -- had players with 125 or better OPS+.*
The point is -- the Yankees had eight stars. The ninth position, of course, was center field, where
Well, now the Yankees have a guy who I think is a superstar in center field ... and not just any superstar, but a likable superstar who plays great defense (it was popular in New York to call Melky an above-average defensive center fielder -- well, they're about to see what one really looks like), who is an excellent base runner, who pulls the ball with power ...
Judge the trade? The Tigers got a couple of good arms and unloaded payroll. The Diamondbacks got ... well, they got burned, I think.
And the Yankees?
They'll be calling it Granderson Central Station by June.